KCCA speaker demands report on open manholes

Thursday May 28 2020

Dangerous. A woman walks past a manhole on

Dangerous. A woman walks past a manhole on Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala on May 22. PHOTO BY KELVIN ATUHAIRE  

By AMOS NGWOMOYA

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) speaker Abubaker Kawalya on Tuesday asked the institution’s directorate of engineering and technical services to furnish the council with a comprehensive report on city manholes.
Mr Kawalya’s demand follows public criticism of KCCA after 56-year-old Cissy Namukasa drowned in a drainage at Nakawa traffic lights early this month.
The harrowing incident was brought to the fore by CCTV footage. According to the footage, Namukasa, who was walking on a pavement after a downpour, slid off and fell into the drainage channel.

“The directorate of engineering and technical services is hereby instructed to provide a report on the state of manhole coverage in the city to the authority council through the committee of engineering within two weeks,” Mr Kawalya said.
He noted that it would be unfair for KCCA to look as as manholes claim people’s lives in the city. Most Kampala streets and roads have open manholes which pose a very big danger to pedestrians. Besides, many KCCA roads remain unpaved.

In response to the speaker’s concern, KCCA acting executive director Andrew Kitaka explained that there is an ongoing procurement for composite covers, which will be used to cover the gaping manholes in the city.
“We have commenced procurement of at least 500 manhole covers to sort out this problem. We are looking at those manhole covers which are made of composite because those made of iron bars are easily stolen,” he said.

But he did not tell the council on how long the process would take.
Mr Kitaka was non-committal on whether KCCA would compensate the family of the drowned woman.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told Daily Monitor yesterday they have not retrieved Namukasa’s body. Mr Onyango said the search for the body was affected by high water levels.
Last week, Mr Isaac Ssemakadde of Legal Brains Trust sued KCCA on behalf of late Namukasa’s family, seeking compensation of Shs500m.
Mr Ssemakadde argued that Namukasa’s death was caused by KCCA’s failure to cover manholes.

Background
Lockdown. In 2018, KCCA updated the 2003 drainage master plan to resolve Kampala’s flooding crisis. However, the master plan has since gathered dust due to shortage of funds. The few upgraded channels were constructed under the second phase of the Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project, which is bankrolled by World Bank.

angwomoya@ug.nationmedia.com

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